Monday, March 26, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Bad Apple (Merits of Mischief #1)--and an ARC GIVEAWAY!!!

Believe it or not, I actually have an MMGM for you!!!!! (I know, I'm shocked too!) Sometimes I need a break from writing, so I treated myself to a few hours of reading this weekend. And the book I chose was THE BAD APPLE (Merits of Mischief #1) by T.R. Burns.

Here's how the publisher describes it:

The start of a mischievous new middle-grade series has trouble written all over it.

Twelve-year-old Seamus Hinkle is a good kid with a perfect school record—until the day he accidently kills his substitute teacher with an apple.

Seamus is immediately shipped off to a detention facility—only to discover that Kilter Academy is actually a school to mold future Troublemakers, where demerits are awarded as a prize for bad behavior and each student is tasked to pull various pranks on their teachers in order to excel. Initially determined to avoid any more mishaps, Seamus nonetheless inadvertently emerges as a uniquely skilled troublemaker. Together with new friends Lemon and Elinor, he rises to the top of his class while beginning to discover that Kilter Academy has some major secrets and surprises in store...

It's hard to tell from the cover shot, but this book actually has a very unique trim size. It's cut into a square, and I'll admit, when I first saw it I couldn't help thinking, um... why? It definitely made it stand out from the other ARCs in my pile, but it still seemed like a strange choice to me. But now that I've read the book--and seen how the story is every bit as unique as the packaging--it makes perfect sense. (hey, maybe that's even what the publisher is going for!) 

The world is sort of a topsy turvy world where bad is good and demerits are the prize (and gold stars the punishment). And in the midst of all that crazy is Seamus Hinkle, a good kid who accidentally did a very bad thing and is now struggling to do what's right in a school that's training him to do wrong. 

With a backwards concept like that you might expect the story to feel a bit gimmicky, and lacking in heart. But Seamus is actually an incredibly likable little boy, who managed to make me laugh and ache for him as he struggled to adjust to life at Kilter Academy. Even Lemon--Seamus' pyromaniac roommate--is impossibly endearing. 

The fast paced plot is both funny and exciting, and the whirlwind ending leaves you desperate for book 2. It's a quick, fun read full of twists and turns and hilarious debacles, and a great pick for boys or reluctant readers--though I have a feeling many readers will love it. 

But don't just take my word for it--see for yourself. THE BAD APPLE isn't scheduled for release until April 24th (mark those calendars!), but one of you will get to read it early because I'm giving away my ARC!!!

To enter, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm pacific on Saturday, March 31st. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, April 1st. I also *recommend* you follow my blog in some form--though it's not required. I just don't have time to email winners, so if you aren't following me how will you know you won? But it's up to you! And International entries are welcome.

If you want more amazing middle grade recommendations, check out these other awesome MMGMs floating around the blogosphere:
- The Mundie Moms are now part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, better get over THERE and check out all the awesome!  
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!    
- Brennan and Meyrick Murphy--two actual middle grade bloggers (so awesome, right???) spread their love for RENEGADE MAGIC. Click HERE for Meyrick's review. 
 Karen Yingling is cheering for THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF AMY FINAWITZ. Click HERE to see why  
- Barbara Watson is trumpeting SEEING CINDERELLA--and giving away here ARC. Click HERE for all the details. 
- Laurisa Reyes--has a fabulous interview with Anne Nesbit--and a GIVEAWAY of THE CABINET OF EARTHS. Click HERE for all the fun.  
- Natalie Aguirre is ALSO interviewing Anne Nesbit and GIVING AWAY a copy of THE CABINET OF EARTHS!  Click HERE for another chance to win.   
- Gina Carey has fallen in love with THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE. Click HERE to see why.    
- Deb Marshall has an awesome middle grade round-up of all the books she read over the weekend. Click HERE to see what they are.
-Coreena McBurnie is discussing the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Click HERE to see which books are doing well. 
- Andrea Mack is raving about THE MCGILLICUDDY BOOK OF PERSONAL RECORDS. Click HERE to learn more about it   
 - Gabrielle Prendergast is spreading some love for NATALIE BABBIT.  Click HERE to see her review.  
- Kim Aippersbach takes her turn to gush about the much beloved BREADCRUMBS. Click HERE for more reasons why you need to read it too. 
- Akossiwa Ketoglo is championing THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOSE . Click HERE to see why she thinks you'll love it too! 
- Joanne Fritz is talking about KASPAR THE TITANIC CAT. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Julie from "That's Swell" is back with another feature, this time on GODDESS GIRLS: ATHENA THE BRAIN. Click HERE to see what she thought!  
-Jemi Fraser is spotlighting SHUG. Click HERE to see what it's all about.  
- Myrna Foster is recommending BOBBY THE BRAVE. Click HERE to see why she loved it.  

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)

I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. I'll TRY, but it might not happen. BUT--you are welcome to leave a link to your post in the comments, that way hopefully people will still be able to find it!

**Note: Thanks to a boatload of spam--and my missing a bunch of important emails because of it--I'm now using a new email address. So make sure you update your records because I'm slowly phasing the other address out. New email is: SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. Hopefully now I won't miss some of your MMGMs, like I have been.**

Happy Monday!


  1. This one sounds like a ton of fun! It sounds perfect for some of the kids in my class! :)

  2. Ooh, this story has bad written all over it. Sounds fab!

  3. This story sounds fun to read. :)

  4. I'm up for this one. Sounds like a rollicking read.

  5. Ok, I Love square books, or books of unusual sizes. I think I was sold when you mentioned that. :)

  6. One thing I love about MG books is how quickly I can read them! I was late AGAIN getting my link to Shannon (as if she doesn't have enough to do without cleaning up after me), so here's my MMGM post: Noah Zarc, a fun space age twist on the old Sunday school story by newbie author D. Robert Pease. (Click on my name to get there.) :)

  7. This sounds like so much fun, and I love that it's square!

  8. I noticed a ferris wheel and a roller coaster in the background of the upper left corner of the cover. A place of adventure to be discovered in the book? I'm also wondering why someone would willingly sit in a chair with an apple on their head? It takes a lot of belief in the other person not to hit them in the face with the arrow.

    Thanks for sharing about this book and offering this giveaway.

  9. Hm . . . will be interesting to see how the square shape works on the library shelf. Sounds like a fun story though--I'm always looking for titles to interest my reluctant readers.

  10. Sounds like another great read!! Square is awesome :)

  11. This definitely sounds like a book that some of my students would enjoy. The square shape will stand out on the shelves.

  12. I love learning about new books through MMGM. laurisawhitereyes at yahoo dot com

  13. We need more great MG books! THANKS for the chance to win and read!


  14. This looks totally awesome! Thanks for this :) *Pick me universe, pick me!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  15. Sounds very interesting.

    Spam? Yuck.


  16. I love the idea of the unique format, and the plot sounds fun too. Sign me up!

  17. Sounds fun! Thanks for taking the time to read and share.

  18. Thank you! I like the premise. :o)

  19. Oh neat! I like the sounds of this one. I'll add it to my to-read list for sure!

  20. This sounds really neat, and pretty unique for the MG market. Awesome!

  21. I just realized that I should have added my link to your roundup! I reviewed The False Prince today on my blog. I LOVED IT!

  22. The cover on this is adorable! I love the illustration, and now I'm really curious to see this "square" book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. This is a new one to me. Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. Ooooo! Sounds awesome. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  25. This sounds like an excellent book! I've already added it to goodreads, but hopefully I can win a copy and get to it faster!. :D

    -Jasmine Stairs

  26. This sounds good! I'd be thrown by the trim size too. Thanks for the giveaway!

  27. I would like to link up this week. Please add my review of the Scholastic series The Mysterious Four: Hauntings and Heists.

    Thank you!

    I am going to try to participate regularly. My goal is one middle grade novel a week. :)

  28. I think square is a great idea. The Bad Apple (Merits of Mischief #1) looks like a fun read


  29. Ooooh. This sounds like a really good book. I think my grandson and I will both love it. Thanks for running the giveaway.

  30. Ohh, seems like an awesome book :D I would love to win a copy of it. <3 Thank you for the chance :)
    Love, Carina

  31. I've seen this book around and it looks fantastic!!! So want it :)

  32. never heard of it! happy to discover a new book!


Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3